Everything is Sensory

PSA: Everything is “sensory”!

(And, again, like I mentioned yesterday…”sensory” is actually an adjective, not a noun…that’s me being pedantic, but it is something that really indicates to me whether I’m talking to somebody who knows what they mean and what they’re talking about, versus somebody who’s trying to communicate in a jargon that they don’t necessarily fully understand.)

When I hear people say that they’re going to “do sensory”, they most often mean that they’re going to engage in some kind of tactile (touch) sensory play, usually in a sensory bin (or kiddie pool, or other type of similar container).

Which is great! There’s totally a place for that in the world. Why am I being pedantic about all of this?

There’s a few reasons why it’s important to be specific with the language we use, but here’s the most important one about this, to me:

“Sensory” has become a buzzword that companies use to sell you things.

That’s why this is so important to me. Because if a first-time mom thinks she has to buy stuff for her child to “do sensory” or “develop sensory” or whatever it is that some other well-meaning parent shared with her on Facebook, then she’s spending unnecessary money, worry, and investment when her kid would just as happily and safely be able to play with dirt and sticks in the backyard.

Because if white middle class America decides that “sensory” is a thing that’s kept behind paywalls and that it’s “unsafe” or “gross” to let kids just explore the sensory-rich world around them with their sensory systems, then the children of today with less money and resources are worse off for it, and even their own children of tomorrow are worse off for it too.

[Image description: A picture of a sensory bin filled with fake snow and two hands are squirting paint out of eye droppers onto it. The text over the top reads, “We’re going to do sensory!” There are red “correction” marks crossing out and adding text so that the text, corrected, reads: “We’re going to play with a sensory bin!”]